There is an increasing awareness among hunters that there are medical risks associated with handling wildlife, and certain safety precautions should be taken. Hunters and their dogs can be exposed to infectious diseases not only from infected animals, but also via insect vectors and contaminated soil and water. Diseases that are transmitted from animals to humans, either through direct contact with the animal or a contaminated surface or water, through ingestion of animal products (e.g., meat and milk) or through insect transmission from an animal are called zoonotic (pronounced ZO-oh-NOT-ik or zoo-NOT-ik) diseases. Insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, flies, fleas or mites serve as vectors, capable of transmitting infection from an infected animal to another animal or a person.
The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) has the following advice on certain health concerns linked to hunting, both in North America and in other areas of the world. These documents are by no means intended to discourage people from hunting; instead, they are intended to inform hunters of the risks they face and steps they can take to reduce those risks.